Author and Penn State public affairs professor Steven Peterson will discuss "Why Democracy is So Difficult" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, in the Mitchell Auditorium. The public is welcome to the speech; there is no charge.
Peterson's lecture is part of a series called Making Democracy Work, sponsored by the Alworth Center for the Study of Peace and Justice at St. Scholastica. The series speakers are exploring several sides to the issue of political polarization and its effect on the democratic process. These issues include whether political gridlock is threatening democracy or whether party polarization will increase the public's interest and participation in politics.
Peterson argues that humans are social primates with an innate tendency for hierarchical and authoritarian social and political structures. He contends that democracy requires very special "enabling conditions" before it can be supported by a state-conditions that require decades to evolve. As a result, attempts to export democracy through nation-building to states without these enabling conditions are doomed to fail.
Peterson is director of the School of Public Affairs and professor of politics and public affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. He has authored or co-authored 20 books, among which are "Darwinism, Dominance, and Democracy;" "The Failure of Democratic Nation Building;" "Political Behavior: Patterns in Everyday Life," and more than 100 publications.
The Alworth Center for the Study of Peace and Justice seeks to bridge social and political barriers to bring together people of all ages and philosophies to work toward the common goals of peace and justice. The public is invited to participate in Center activities and to utilize the resource center.
For more information visit spotlight.css.edu or contact the Spotlight Box Office at (218) 723-7000. Spotlight@css.edu is St. Scholastica's one-stop shop for arts and lectures information and tickets.